A troublesome source of physiological noise in functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) is due to the spatio-temporal modulation of the magnetic field in the brain caused by normal subject respiration. fMRI data acquired using echo-planar imaging are very sensitive to these respiratory-induced frequency offsets, which cause significant geometric distortions in images. Because these effects increase with main magnetic field, they can nullify the gains in statistical power expected by the use of higher magnetic fields. As a study of existing navigator correction techniques for echo-planar fMRI has shown that further improvements can be made in the suppression of respiratory-induced physiological noise, a new hybrid two-dimensional (2D) navigator is proposed. Using a priori knowledge of the slow spatial variations of these induced frequency offsets, 2D field maps are constructed for each shot using spatial frequencies between +/-0.5 cm(-1) in k-space. For multi-shot fMRI experiments, we estimate that the improvement of hybrid 2D navigator correction over the best performance of one-dimensional navigator echo correction translates into a 15% increase in the volume of activation, 6% and 10% increases in the maximum and average t-statistics, respectively, for regions with high t-statistics, and 71% and 56% increases in the maximum and average t-statistics, respectively, in regions with low t-statistics due to contamination by residual physiological noise.